Hong Kong can now be added to the growing list of metropolitan cities that offers its citizens a chance to reclaim its streets from the car-centric mindset that has reigned this city until now. Thanks to environmentally friendly start-up gobee.bike, a brand new public bicycle sharing system in Hong Kong, the first wave of 1,000 bright green bikes will serve urbanites in New Territories. Currently spread across popular areas in Sha Tin, Tai Po, and Ma On Shan, the startup will soon extend to more regions of the 852, depending on demand, with 20,000 bicycles to be made available by the summer.
“We’re going to have a very big impact on cities and the planet,” exclaims CEO Raphael Cohen. “It’s something I care about. What we are doing is going to be useful for people and have a positive impact on the world.” gobee.bike, like other bike share systems around the world, consists of a fleet of specially designed “smart” bikes. Sturdy and durable, these pedal-driven recreational vehicles are solar-powered to provide a smart light for night rides as well as power the individual locks that dock the wheels. Equipped with a basket to carry your belongings, the tires are made of solid rubber ensuring a flat-free riding experience. To rent one of the bicycles, riders must download gobee.bike’s mobile app (currently only available on Android, though the iOS version will come out soon), input your credit card details and take out a fully-refundable deposit of HKD399 for incidentals. Once you are all set, the app will locate the nearest available bicycle through a real-time map. By scanning the QR code located behind the seat, riders are able to return the bikes at any designated public area, making them ideal for one-way trips. A ride costs around HKD5 per half hour so it’s very budget-friendly. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, locking the bike will conclude your transaction and the computerized system will tally your total usage time and price. Available for use 24 hours a day, Hong Kong riders will be able to enjoy thousands of bikes at their disposal.
Inspired by China’s bike sharing success stories like Ofo and Mobike, serial entrepreneur Cohen (he co-founded HotelQuickly and helped launch foodpanda in Vietnam) saw an opportunity to fill an important need in the Hong Kong market. “I’m in Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen a lot for work- when I saw this concept with my own eyes, I knew something good was happening and wanted to make it happen here [in Hong Kong]” In two short months, Cohen has grown gobee.bike to a team of 15 (and counting) and has concrete plans to expand to global markets. “Our mission is to bring bike-sharing to the masses and make it accessible to anyone looking for convenience,” explains Cohen, an avid cyclist himself. Gobee.bike is looking to expand to Yuen Long, Kwun Tong and Cyberport in the near future with Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, and Discovery Bay to come by the end of the year. We’re all for it! You get a workout, save $$, keep toxic fumes off the street…it’s a win-win all around.
All photos courtesy of gobee.bike.